Published 8:47 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This is a column that first ran five years ago while my beloved mother-in-law was still with us. This is our first Christmas without her; she will be dearly missed as well as all the Christmas traditions we celebrated together…..including those butter ball cookies we all loved so much!

About a month ago, I started hearing advertisements for a Marine Band Christmas concert to be held last night. Being a lover of both military bands and Christmas music I immediately put it on my calendar. I have really been looking forward to it even if I did have to coax other members of the family to go with me.

Try to imagine Christmas without The Sound of (Christmas) Music, pun intended. It’s almost like trying to imagine life as a deaf mute. Christmas and music go together like eggs and bacon, syrup and pancakes, love and marriage, or any other poetic couplet we can conjure up. For me, the sound of Christmas music takes me back to some of my happiest memories as a child. I hope it does the same for you as well.

I remember one Christmas Eve when my mom engineered a traveling Christmas Caroling expo. We loaded our little band from church onto to a flatbed truck and roamed the neighborhood playing Christmas carols for anyone who would listen. Ever try to play a trumpet or guitar in freezing cold temperatures? The music might not have been great but the memories of it are…especially, the hot chocolate afterward!

Well how was the Marine Band concert last night? I don’t know. As we were literally walking out the door, my wife got a call from her 88-year-old mom, who had just fallen as she was exiting a theater. On the way down she hit her head, strained her neck, sprained her ankle, and bruised her knee….the one that had been surgically replaced a few years ago. So we immediately changed plans and directions from the concert to her apartment at their assisted-living facility. Fortunately, mom was not bad enough to need hospitalization but we did call in our newly-minted Army medic son to wrap the ankle in a splint.

As seniors ourselves looking after those more senior than us, this is not an unfamiliar scenario; it just happens to be a seasonal one. We often have to be prepared to change plans on a dime in order to respond to a fall, a stroke, a strained back, or other malady that accompanies “seniordom”. So how does one respond to such changes in plans? With selfish bitterness or selfless love? Hopefully the latter because as time marches on, we’ll surely find ourselves trading places: graduating to the more senior position while our sons and daughters take over as caregivers. Nothing ever stays still in life does it?

But what about that concert? There will be another. In fact, unless we get another call, my wife and I have a Christmas dinner date where one of our favorite jazz piano/singer artists will be performing a Christmas concert. Not the Marine Band, but still The Sound of (Christmas) Music. We’re blessed! And so are we all as free Americans who can hear and appreciate The Sound of (Christmas) Music.

While you’re listening this year, don’t forget its real meaning: Emanuel, God with us is born!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..See you next week!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors.  If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at or search for us at